There is nothing better when the ingredients are fresh than a Caprese salad. It can be simple, elegant, and flavourful as long as you are using the right stuff. But what if you didn’t have access to fresh heirloom tomatoes, homegrown basil or high quality mozzarella? Well there is this a way to reimagine the Caprese salad as a composed appetizer.
My repurposing of the tomato component of the Caprese Salad is to make a very simple confit of tomato.
10 Plum Tomatoes
1/2 cup of high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 ts of Thyme(Fresh, Minced)
Remove the stem end of the tomato as it can be chewy at the end of this process, place the tomatoes in a large bowl. In a medium pot, boil water when the water is boiling pour it onto the tomatoes which are destemmed in the previously mentioned bowl. Let the tomatoes sit in the boiling water for about 15 to 20 seconds and drain off the water. Let the tomatoes cool and then remove their skins by hand. On a deep pyrex lined with parchment place the tomatoes pour the olive oil over them as well as the salt, pepper, and thyme. Place in an over heated to 250 degree and cook for about 4 hours. The tomatoes will dehydrate by about half during this time. Take another bowl and place the tomatoes in it along with the oil you reserved from the pyrex. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
The Basil: With the basil component you will be creating a basil oil
10 leaves Basil(Fresh)
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a pot of water boiling water blanche the basil leaves for about 10 second and drain. Towel dry the leaves and let sit for a few minutes. In a blender add your oil and basil leaves and puree. Pour into bowl, cover and place in fridge.
5 Cups Veggie Oil
10 medium Bocconcini Balls
1 Large Egg Beaten
1/2 Cup bread crumbs
Heat the oil in a pot to 360 degrees, the oil should be about 1.5 inches deep. You want to take your bocconcini in egg, then breadcrumbs, then egg again, then bread crumbs again. Lay out the balls for a few minutes to dry and then in batches of two or three fry the balls for about 45 seconds turning them with a slotted spoon. All you want to do is get a nice crust on the cheese. Remove them from the oil and plate.
Plating: You want to make a bed out of the confit tomato, top it with the fried cheese ball and then drizzle the basil oil over the dish. A small but powerful take on the Caprese Salad.